On her new album, Pint of Blood – which, lest we forget, is very nearly an armful – Jolie Holland adopts a new, looser working method which isn't entirely to her advantage.
Working with producer Shahzad Ismaily and guitarist Grey Gersten, her muse seems less anchored than usual, that characteristic weary drawl oozing over material that mostly lacks the impact of earlier albums such as Catalpa, Escondida and The Living and the Dead. Tracks like "Tender Mirror" and "Little Birds" are meandering blues ballads decorated with extempore threads of electric guitar or bedded in brooding organ, and the general tone of the album is exemplified by the enervated violin in "June", evoking the pastoral reverie of "butterflies and buzzards in the heavy air". Sadly, rather less of an armful than one might have hoped.
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